Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Science and Spirituality; A Talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Science and Spirituality, the knowledge was given on the year 2002 at Bangalore International Ashram of Art of Living by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In this speech He has explained what humanity is and what is the relation between science and spirituality.
Humanity as a whole is part of one divinity. When we say a part, I don’t mean they are apart. Science and spirituality are humanity, are not apart at all. It is all looking at the reality from various different angles. Its two sides of the same coin. Through avidya, that means here it doesn’t mean ignorance; avidya means knowledge of the relative of this. The knowledge of this, takes you away from death; and knowledge of mean, of the self, gives you mortality. It’s like same by one thing darkness when it seems when other thing light comes. It cannot happen one after the other; it is the simultaneous happen. Darkness comes when light goes; darkness goes when light comes. So, it’s a simultaneous happening. Same with humanity and science. 

Science is there for human being. And science is understood by humans. Animals don’t understand science. So, in that sense humanity can’t be the perceiver; the observer can’t be separated from the scene of the observed. Science is all about the observed, about the scene. And humanity is about the scere. And let’s see what this sere consists of? Scere consists of all that is abstract. Love, beauty, peace, joy, intelligence. And the same consists of all matter; including all own physical body, physical existence. This understanding, they called it viveka, the discremination; the scene and the scere. And then scene and scere are all part one whole.

What is this, is – science and who am I, is – spirituality or humanity. When we think they are separate and trying to bridge also you know keep them separate… look there is a link, or look they all are same. In our ancient scripture they’ve said – ‘padartha gyanar moksha!’ They didn’t instinct you most believe in God. Padartha, even if you understand or know - one tiny particle of this creation, you’ll be liberated. Because in that one tiny particle of creation the entire creation is reflected, is present there. The more we know science, the more we know that we know very little. It listed a place that I know very little about this creation; the mystery deepens. And the same happens when you try to ponder on who you are. The deeper you go you find you’re much waster than what you thought you are. There is an ending mystery in both sides – you go within or you go without. The mystery of the self, and the mystery of the creation… and its welcome idea to ponder more on this; bringing to dialogue. These dialogues should help us to understand this and mean better. This meaning, the world around us and me is the depth that we are. 

It is said ones, Vyasa - how to find humans? There is a story about Ved Vyasa. The creator created the world; then the Ved Vyasa asked to categorize them, make them in to proper curriculum of people to study. So, he said OK. Because, Vedas are infinite; Veda means the knowledge is infinite. There is no beginning to it; there is no end to it. So, he was asked to categorize them.  Then he said where the Vedas is? There should huge mountains, bigger than the Himalayas. Ved Vyasa said how much can you take? Ved Vyasa went and took- one hand full that mountain and from that one hand full of mountain he created all the Vedas. He categorizes them. The Vedas were already present, it was not created; he took just one hand full from that mountains and what did he made; he made the four Vedas. The Rig-Veda, ten thousand verses written by thousands of Rishis. And then he made Yajur Veda, Sam Veda, Atharb Veda… and then he made four UpaVedas, the AyurVeda – the science of life, all about medicines, herbs, medicines, herbology; DhanurVeda, SthapatyaVeda – diagrams  and GandharVeda –music, phonetics, how the music has come, from where it comes,  all that. So now, from the four Vedas which are more like pure sense of subtract, came four UpaVedas, which are more practical and utilitarian side; which is for day to day life. And then six Darshans, even more applied science; which are used by Sheshikanya, mimansha, sankhya, the yogaveda are applied science derived from that. And then more humanity, more arts and science. The Ramayana and Mahabharata, which we’re holding on to this now, more or less. The cultural part of it and the heritage part of it and the Purana. 

The word ‘Purana’ indicates just opposite of what we think of it. Even in Hindi, Purana mean old. Purana in fact means ‘pure nawayate – Purana’. That which is the new in the town is Purana. Pura means the town and Nawa means New. The new or the latest fashion is called Purana. See over the time, how that lost its meaning. And the meaning became 1800 different. These aspects of humanity need to be brought into our awareness. We need to be aware of our own self, our body, our breath, our mind; how the mind works. First thing, a student was given was to make him realize who you’re – get confidence in you. So, they called Brahmopadesh; which means greatest advice - initiation. What is that? You’re not what you think you’re; you’re bigger than this whole universe. Though are that; you’re that. That was the first knowledge imparted to a student before he could understand, study more. So increasing the capacity of a student to study more to install the confidence in it; the teacher would look at the student and say look – whom you think you’re. You’re not just somebody; you’re more than the somebody you think you are. You’ve infinite possibilities in you; potentialities in you; wake up. Though are that, you are that. That imparting technique of instilling confidence in the students, give them a bigger goal in life; would serve as a backbone in their studies, in their activities, and would encourage them to go more in to their knowledge. So few minutes of relaxation and understanding and pondering on who am I – what is my life is all about, what taking do to people around me, would bring more juice and more enthusiasm in life. 

For any scientist or an artist, you need enthusiasm. If a person lacks enthusiasm, forget about it; no creative work can happen; you may have R&D departments, it’ll just leave. Some paper will come out every year or every few years; but nothing much creative can happen. The enthusiasm is part of humanity; is part of spirituality, part of spirit. Here when I say spirituality; I mean that through which you’re listening, that which makes you ask questions or understand; that perceptive ability in your consciousness; that is spirit. And enthusiasm is its nature.  Joy is its nature. Love is its nature. Beauty is its nature. Commitment is its nature. Responsibility is its nature. And if you eliminate humanity or if you take away this aspects from human, then you’ll find just like a robot. No enthusiasm, no joy, no commitment, no love and nothing. Isn’t it so? So, it’s absolutely essential that we don’t think these different aspects of knowledge are just compartments and have a holistic approach to life. Accommodate, understand and digest them all. 

You know someone said – there are three ladies who spoiled this planet. Miss-understanding, Miss-representation and Miss-use. So, if science is misrepresented or misunderstood or misused, we have problem. Stop this miss to enter into that; well does science we need humanity. 

‘Gobardhan’ reminds me something very beautiful; ‘Go’ means knowledge, ‘Bardhan’ means one who promotes it. People wrongly understood that ‘Go’ means just cow. The word ‘Go’ has four meaning in Hindi – Gyan, Gaman, Prapti and Moksha. So Gyan is knowledge, Gaman gives the momentum, Prapti means achievement and Moksha means liberation, freedom. So Go-Bardhan means one who enhances to knowledge – means teacher. 

The Neem and Haldi are used to be told – it doesn’t bring any food values, Haldi is just coloring agent, it doesn’t have any food values. Its 20-25 years back. And today they found Haldi is the best anti-oxidant and it’s helpful to keep body more youthful. And it was such a part of our own culture. From ages we’ve been using Haldi. All that is life supporting was considered as a secret. Tulsi, Neem, Nimbu, these things; so we shouldn’t take it as a sacred thing, but look it at more from scientific angle. 

One more aspect is like putting Chandan on the forehead. Now, this also we got some scientific angle we need to look at it; the pituitary gland which controls all the glands in the system. We put Chandan on that keep more activated. That’s in the brainwaves are more when you’re more emotional in the backside of the head. That when you do a mistake, you put your hand backside of head – Oh!! But when you want to think something, you put your hand on the front. Though the memory, thinking, intuition all these functions from the frontier lobe of our head, of the brain. So, when the frontier lobe of our brain is activated little more, then you’re more balanced. That’s why especially the women must put some bindi on center of the forehead; the reason is they don’t become too emotional and get more balanced. Put some Chandan, some cool Chandan that keep you mind cool, calm, alert and awake. So, like this we need to look at thinks more scientific angles and will be able to give to our society a deeper understanding. And what we really need today; the spirit of enquiry and scientific enquiry. 

I think there are five types of questions that the people ask. One is how I can get more money or why this problem to me. The question comes up from only problems. Why I am suffering? Nobody asks why I am happy, why there is so much beauty in the world? No, why I am suffering, why I am in problem, why me? Or how I can get more money or how I can get more fame or how I can get more this or that; is the second type of question. The third type of question is the scientific enquiry in mind; just curiosity, wanting to know – what is this, what is that. And the fourth type of question is – self enquity; who am I and the fifth type of question is wondering, how come.

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